In one of my recent blog posts I mentioned that I was looking for a house to rent. I applied for one last week but hadn’t heard back from them (until this afternoon). I was starting to get concerned that I hadn’t gotten the place. I knew I made enough money to afford the rent, so that shouldn’t have been the issue. I started to think of other reasons I might have gotten passed up. The first thing that came to my mind was my credit score. What was it? Could I have missed a payment on something? Maybe that credit card I never activated affected me negatively? With all these questions about my credit going through my mind I remembered the popular jingle from freecreditreport.com. I decided to go on and check it out. After all it should be free. Their name has the word free in it.
I went to their website and started filling out their questions. Once I was through, they gave me the option to wait two days and get my credit score for free or pay $1 and get it instantly. I was there to get it for free, so naturally I waited. Once I got my score back I was happy. It’s very good considering one of my credit cards is new, and I’ve never purchased real estate. I was so pleased with my score I decided to tell my girlfriend’s father about it. Once I was done, he seemed interested in checking his own credit. The only thing he asked me (which I’m glad he did) is if the website is secure. I wasn’t totally sure. At this point I was praying it was. I decided to do a little research to make sure. To my relief, everything seemed to check out OK. I was glad to find out my information was safe, but I was disturbed to also find out that after seven days they were going to start billing me almost $20 a month to track my credit score. Now, I know it’s my fault that I didn’t read the fine print, but the word FREE is in the name FREEcreditreport.com. I was able to call them and cancel my account before they charged me, but that’s how they make their money. I thought it was funny because when you call them to cancel they immediately offer you 50% off the first six months. I guess their accustomed to people actually wanting a free credit report.
This whole story boils down to a few things:
1) You can get a free credit score. One way to do it is to go to freecreditreport.com. Then, select to wait two days. After you get your score call them and cancel (you have 7 days from when you sign up). You don’t even have to talk to anyone. It’s all automated. I would recommend keeping the cancellation e-mail they send you just in case.
2) If you want to track your credit score you can get 50% off the first 6 months by signing up and then threaten to cancel your account.
P.S. I ended up getting the house!